15 May 2019
By Ardyn Gonzales
The Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles still have their championship hopes alive as they bounced back to take Game 2 against the University of Sto. Tomas Lady Tigresses in four sets, 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15 in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament, Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Ateneo overcame another slow start, escaping UST in an extended first set. With the Lady Tigresses reaching set point first, a kill block by Bea de Leon on Eya Laure forced a deuce. The Lady Eagles stole set point in the next rally followed by an attack error by Laure to complete the comeback.
UST suddenly found their groove in the second set as they maintained an 11-point lead to tie the game at 1-all. Unfortunately, Laure injured her ankle in the beginning of the third frame. The Lady Tigresses still fought despite losing the league’s first Best Outside Hitter, but with de Leon and Maddie Madayag activated at the net, the Lady Eagles were able to take the 2-1 lead.
It was all Ateneo from there as they jumped off to a 20-8 lead in the fourth set, taking advantage of the paralyzed offfense and defense of UST. A service error from the side of the Lady Tigresses ended the match in favor of the Lady Eagles.
Seniors Maddie Madayag, Bea de Leon, and Kat Tolentino were all in double-digits, with Madayag leading Ateneo with 17 points on 10 attacks, 4 kill blocks, and 3 service aces. De Leon compensated her four-point output in the previous game with 13 points, while Tolentino had 11.
Dani Ravena was also impressive in defense as she stepped up with 12 excellent receptions and 22 excellent digs – many of which were from Sisi Rondina’s hard cross-court attacks.
Rondina carried UST with 22 points in a losing effort, while Eya Laure still had 10 markers despite limited time.
Ateneo and UST will battle for the championship in a do-or-die Game 3 on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
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